Oyster Cultivation Update

Checked on the oysters growing on cornstalks, and was excited to see mushrooms forming.

There is a couple of clumps forming and the mycelium has spread throughout. The mass may grow pretty fast now that that the fruiting has started! The timing might workout pretty well since the temperatures are almost stable enough to set the tub outside.

Oysters on cornstalkOysters on cornstalkOysters on cornstalkOysters on cornstalk

It is good to see this working because I didn’t have to put much work into it.There is not much much money invested either. The cornstalks were just broken up enough to fit in the tub and soaked in water. Since it is very low tech and low cost it has real possibilities for farmers, both those farming for a hopeful profit and those farming to provide food to  survive.

The cornstalks could have been bagged up and sent to the landfill, and instead will be turned into food. I will keep you updated on this project.

Under Water Mushroom Discovered

The first I heard of this was from Paul Stamets at Bioneers. Then I found this interesting article at MailTribune.com
What lies beneath: a new mushroom
Hydrologist happens onto a novel gilled species that seems to thrive underwater in the upper Rogue River

A new species of mushroom, dubbed Psathyrella aquatic, has been discovered in the upper Rogue River. Biologists believe this is the first gilled mushroom to be found living underwater in the world. The bubbles on the top of the mushroom are caused by an unknown gas.Photo courtesy of Robert Coffan

Paul Fattig

SHADY COVE — Hydrologist Robert Coffan knew he was looking at something very unusual in the knee-deep summer waters of the upper Rogue River.

Here were gilled mushrooms, swaying in the main current of the clear, cold river in early July through late September.

“But since gilled mushrooms DO NOT live and grow underwater, I was real nervous” about approaching a mycological expert, admitted the adjunct professor at Southern Oregon University.

Indeed, Darlene Southworth, a retired SOU biology professor, was plenty skeptical when he broached the subject. Although she was impressed by underwater photographs taken by Coffan, she wanted to see the evidence firsthand.

Not only did she witness the mushrooms found by Coffan, but she discovered others during an August visit to a stretch of the north fork of the river within a few miles of Woodruff Bridge in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.

“There are no known gilled mushrooms living underwater,” Southworth explained. “And this is not a slime mold or anything like that. These are regular gilled mushrooms.

“We believe this is a new species,” she concluded of the mushrooms that are typically about 10 centimeters tall with caps that are about 2 centimeters wide.

The find was unveiled Monday night at the November meeting of the Upper Rogue Watershed Association, for whom Coffan had prepared a water assessment last year.

Dubbed Psathyrella aquatic, the mushroom is being introduced to the broader scientific community in a 14-page paper submitted Nov. 9 to the science journal Mycologia. The paper was written by Coffan in collaboration with Southworth and Jonathan Frank, a laboratory technician at SOU.

Coffan credits Southworth, who now conducts research under a National Science Foundation grant at the university, for focusing on mycorrhizal fungi, and Frank for the paper and much of the research in determining the mushroom’s uniqueness.

Up at Oregon State University, Matt Trappe, a doctoral candidate in forest mycology, says Coffan has found a unique mushroom. He and his father, Jim Trappe, a retired U.S. Forest Service mycologist who now teaches in OSU’s botany and plant pathology department, were consulted on the find.

“As far as we’ve determined, this is a first in Oregon as well as a first in the world,” Matt Trappe said of gilled mushrooms living in water. “We’re not aware of anything at all like this in mycology where the reproductive mushroom structure appears to be perennially underwater.

“If this evolved in Oregon, what are the odds it can be found in streams and rivers around the world?” he asked. “This raises all kinds of questions about spore disbursement and evolution.”

There are more questions than answers at this point, acknowledged Coffan, who originally discovered the water-dwelling gilled mushrooms in summer 2005. None of the mushrooms were found in slack water, he noted.

A DNA analysis at SOU’s Bio Tech Center and a cross-check of references and experts, including mycologists at the University of Minnesota, determined the mushrooms belonged to the genus Psathyrella, Southworth said. Samples were sent to OSU and to San Francisco State University.

There are about 600 known species of Psathyrella, all terrestrial, she said.

“How do we identify them? We look at the morphology — the form, the shape and the DNA,” she said.

It has a small bell-shaped cap, a thin stipe (stem) and gills underneath, she said. They examined the cells in the cap and made a spore print.

Researchers have ruled out the possibility the mushrooms were growing along the banks and were merely submerged by rising waters brought on by snowmelt.

The mushrooms were found in the spring-fed “base” flow of the river, Coffan said, noting that flow is consistent and keeps the mushrooms submerged.

The mushrooms tend to grow on submerged wood but can also be found growing in the gravel, Southworth said.

“These are growing in the same place for three months, ” she said, adding they have been found as late as Sept. 21.

Although there are some known freshwater aquatic fungi, this is the only known gilled mushroom that grows underwater, she reiterated.

“We noticed there is a gas bubble underwater,” she said. “When we pulled the mushroom out, we could hold it up for some seconds before the spore burst. But they would not be uniformly distributed. They would stick to the cap, to the stipe, to Jonathan’s fingers.”

They don’t know what the gas is, she noted.

They are also intrigued by its three-month fruiting season.

“That’s way long for mushrooms,” she observed.

As for their edibility, Southworth figures the waterborne mushrooms are too small to warrant collecting for food.

However, several of the terrestrial Psathyrella are edible, although most have never been tested as a food source, according to her research.

“There is no reason it would go toxic,” she observed of a member of the genus growing in water.

Meanwhile, Coffan, Southworth and Frank plan to return to the area to conduct further research to try to determine the extent of the mushroom’s habitat. They also want to check out other streams in the region for evidence of the mushrooms.

“But it will be next summer before that is feasible,” she said. “Right now we can describe this one river: It’s aerated, cold, clear, steady flow. But we want to find out how the spores are dispersed.”

“And we want to find out how unique the habitat is,” Coffan said. “We have a whole new area to look for mushrooms now. It’s mind-boggling.”

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 776-4496 or e-mail him at pfattig@mailtribune.com.

Mushroom Growing Kits

Mushroom kits are a great way to get started growing mushrooms.

Mushroom growing kits can be purchased online. They come in quite a variety of mushrooms. They produce fairly well and don’t take up much space. The different types usually involve sawdust and grain of some sort. The bag is complete with the growing substrate and spawn. The only thing left to do is to water them and put them in the right place to incubate. The directions vary but are usually detailed and clear.

Shiitakes take from 2 to 4 weeks to start flushing, and might flush for up to 16 weeks after. They need a temperature between 50 and 80 degrees.The kits are similar to how production mushrooms are grown. Most of them are grown on blocks kind of  like the kits, for fast production.

Lions Mane

The selection has become incredible in the last few years.You can find just about anything from Lions mane to Reishi. These kits would be a good start for beginners, and when done flushing, can be put to use in a mulch pile or outdoor experiments.


Mushroom growing kits can be found online at Garden City Fungi and Fungi Perfecti, links on the homepage. Some stores carry the kits so watch for them.

Shiitakes for Food and Medicine

Shiitakes are a great way to eat your medicine.

ShiitakeShiitake mushrooms have proven to be an all around healthy food. The medicinal properties are almost as good as the Reishi, which is tasty but difficult to eat in volume.Western society has finally realized what eastern society has known for centuries. Mushrooms are good for you and have incredible healing properties for our ailing society.


It only stands to reason that you would want the shiitake to be organic. There is only a few places in the country to purchase them. Garden City Fungi, outside of Missoula, grows and sells organic mushrooms. The owners are serious about organics and I trust them for a safe local product. Stamets, of Fungi Perfecti,  is a champion of the organic mushroom movement, and I trust them for mailorder.

Lincs to both websites are on the Home Page. They are both certified organic. Support responsible growers and get to know your farmers.

Mushroom Music

A true mycophile like myself listens to mushroom music.

Larry Evans has done it again! Music about mushrooms that is mycologically correct and fun to listen to.

Fungal BoogieI have purchased Fungal Boogie and found it interesting and I learn something new each time I listen to it

The cd covers songs about Boletes, Morels and others. There is a song about the Fly Agaric that is funny and thought provoking.The songs describe different identification tips, and the Latin names are taxonomically correct.


The newest cd out is the Fungal Boogieman.

Fungal Boogieman


I have not purchased this one yet, but will be soon. In listening to the sample tracks, it sounds like another fun one to have and listen to. The setup and context seems similar to the last one.

The link on the homepage will get you to the Fungal Jungal, with some samples of the cds as well as the lyrics to the songs. 10% of the purchase price goes to the WMMA, a worthy cause indeed!The WMMA and Larry maintain the Fungal Jungal website that is loaded with mushroom information and links.


So get yourself some mushroom music and learn more about mycology while you are at it!